The Way I Work... Dizziak Founder Loretta De Feo
Loretta De Feo is the founder of beauty brand Dizziak, which boasts a line of super-hydrating hair and body favourites. In her own words, it’s the brand she had always been looking for as a consumer; the answer to her years-long quest to find a formulation that would suit her multi-textured hair.
De Feo’s shrewd approach to business and beauty is evident in Dizziak’s stylish monochrome tubes, its no-nonsense formulations (no harsh, suspect ingredients; no pseudoscience) and its impressive results across all hair types. Most of all, it can be seen by the success with which the brand cornered the haircare market. In 2018, Dizziak launched with its £22 Deep Conditioner, which was stocked on the esteemed shelves of Liberty London.
Over the past year, De Feo has made even bigger business strides with Dizziak, extending the brand’s ethos of radical simplicity to body skincare, and welcoming Service95 founder Dua Lipa as an investor. Dua said of her involvement with the brand: “When I was first introduced to Loretta and Dizziak, I was drawn to her ethos of making healthy haircare products accessible to people of all hair types. Investing in a brand like hers allows me to support professionals who know what’s best for you and your hair.”
Here, De Feo discusses her path in entrepreneurship, her musical inspirations and her everyday habits as the brains behind a hit beauty brand.
On The 9-To-5 At Dizziak HQ… I wake up between 7.30am and 8am. I’m not a morning person and ideally have at least an hour before talking to anyone. I tend to work late into the night and rarely get to bed before 1am, so I really enjoy quiet mornings.
I’ll get into my workout gear and onto my laptop by 8.45am. I’ll work on some emails, then four or five times a week I’ll go for a run or fast walk. My day is always busy – I’ll plan content and shoots, send retail orders, speak to new retailers, put presentations together, work on new product and, research potential collaborations. Every day comes with its own set of new challenges, and I try to embrace that. I love the adrenaline – I would find living in a comfort zone scarier.
On Her Ideal Working Environment… I can’t work in silence; I have to have music. It’s my life, and it’s a big Dizziak brand influence. I like lots of layers, soft melodies, banging hooks, calming voices and strong beats – PJ Harvey, Kendrick [Lamar], Björk, Casisdead, Nas, Daft Punk, Ghetts, Al Green, Biggie [The Notorious B.I.G.], Wu-Tang, Radiohead, Prince, Nirvana and Billie Holiday. Lighting is also important to me. I find bright lights stressful, so when I work from home, I use soft lamp lighting as soon as the sun goes down – I find it calming. I have a lot of plants and I believe that being able to see so much of the outside from my desk drives my creativity.
On Everyday Beauty Rituals… I’m pretty low maintenance. I’ve always made sure I look after the foundations: I never go to bed with makeup on, I drink loads of water, exercise, change my bed sheets religiously and wear sunscreen and sunglasses every day. My focus is always on skin. I keep my makeup simple. If it’s a low-key day, it’s nothing, or Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Beautiful Skin Foundation, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, any mascara and the Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb [in Hot Chocolit]. For body, it’s only Dizziak Body Scrub for its supreme hydration and exfoliation, followed by Dizziak Body Conditioner when I’m out of the shower. My skin stays hydrated all day and it smells fresh and delicious – I will never get sick of the scent. I finish with a spritz of Maya Njie Voyeur Verde perfume.
On Authenticity In The Beauty Industry… My personal approach to beauty changed a lot when I became a beauty brand founder – mainly discovering how many brands talk a lot of BS! There’s so much greenwashing, false transparency by good copywriters, pseudo-science and really bad advice out there. Good marketing and cute videos can’t convince me anymore; I want to know exactly what’s in the product and where it came from before I even consider buying it.
On The Haircare Product She Can’t Live Without… I’m going to have to say, I couldn’t live without the Dizziak Deep Conditioner – I have never tried anything better. It’s a conditioner and a hair mask, and it gives unparalleled hydration. For the past five years I’ve alternated monthly between braids and natural hair. When my braids are out, I wash my hair two or three times a week. I think of my hair like a plant and always keep it well watered: hydration is the absolute key to healthy hair.
On Her Original Inspiration For Dizziak… I created Dizziak because I needed it. My hair is a medley of textures, and most conditioners were too light, or gloopy, or too heavy. I found myself importing products from the US that contained suspect ingredients, smelt of sickly artificial fruit, cost a bomb in shipping, took ages to arrive and consistently missed the mark.
For 16 years, I worked as a live music agent and during the last three, I side-hustled as a freelance beauty writer. I was taken on by Stylist magazine in London as a contributing beauty writer, and part of the role was to test and review products. I remember there only being two haircare brands that I liked at the time, so it became my sole focus to create a staple brand that could be relied upon. I vowed to make healthy products with no harsh chemicals that streamlined my routine, were effective for all hair types, featured a high dose of active ingredients and could be found in the same stores that I bought my other beauty products from. Dizziak is the brand I spent years looking for. I create every product based on the notion that it doesn’t already exist, that it’s needed and that it will be the best in class.
On Career Advice… I was told I shouldn’t launch Dizziak until I had a full product range, as no retailer would want to partner with me with just one product. I ignored this, launched with one product [the best-selling Deep Conditioner] and it went straight in the windows of Liberty. Selfridges came a few weeks later.
On Beauty Advice… Be a good person, as it will show on your face.
On Her Dream For Dizziak… I know there are many people who have been let down [by products] before. My dream is that they try Dizziak and finally find a brand they can trust. I want it in everyone’s bathroom.
You can shop Dizziak at dizziak.com
Chioma Ezeh is a writer and artist from London